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Information and strategic political polarization

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  • Micael Castanheira De Moura
  • Juan Carrillo

Abstract

We develop a model of electoral competition in which two opportunistic candidates select their policy position and invest in quality. Policy positions are observed and, during the campaign, the press reveals some information about quality. We demonstrate that when information is imperfect, the Black-Downs median voter theorem fails to hold. For intermediate information levels, the unique equilibrium is such that candidates propose policies different from the median voter's bliss point. By contrast, convergence to the median occurs when quality is (almost) always or (almost) never revealed. We also show that a profit-maximising press may collect more information than socially optimal. Copyright � The Author(s). Journal compilation � Royal Economic Society 2008.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles in its series ULB Institutional Repository with number 2013/10003.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Publication status: Published in: The Economic Journal (2008)
Handle: RePEc:ulb:ulbeco:2013/10003

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  1. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1990. "Equilibrium Political Budget Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 21-36, March.
  2. Micael Castanheira, 2003. "Why Vote For Losers?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(5), pages 1207-1238, 09.
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  7. John Ferejohn, 1986. "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 5-25, January.
  8. John E. Roemer, 1997. "Political-economic equilibrium when parties represent constituents: The unidimensional case," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 14(4), pages 479-502.
  9. Persson, Torsten & Roland, Gerard & Tabellini, Guido, 1998. "Towards micropolitical foundations of public finance," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 685-694, May.
  10. Bernard Caillaud & Jean Tirole, 2002. "Parties As Political Intermediaries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(4), pages 1453-1489, November.
  11. Persson, Torsten & Roland, Gerard & Tabellini, Guido, 1997. "Separation of Powers and Political Accountability," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1163-1202, November.
  12. Bengt Holmstrom, 1999. "Managerial Incentive Problems: A Dynamic Perspective," NBER Working Papers 6875, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Palfrey, Thomas R, 1984. "Spatial Equilibrium with Entry," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(1), pages 139-56, January.
  14. Caillaud, B. & Tirole, J., 1999. "Party governance and ideological bias," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 779-789, April.
  15. David Str–mberg, 2004. "Mass Media Competition, Political Competition, and Public Policy," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(1), pages 265-284, 01.
  16. Castanheira, Micael & Crutzen, Benoît SY & Sahuguet, Nicolas, 2005. "Party Governance and Political Competition with an Application to the American Direct Primacy," CEPR Discussion Papers 4890, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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Cited by:
  1. Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay & Manaswini Bhalla & Kalysan Chatterjee & Jaideep Roy, 2014. "Ideological Dissent in Downsian Politics," Discussion Papers 14-04, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham.
  2. Raphael Boleslavsky & Christopher Cotton, 2012. "Information and Extremism in Elections," Working Papers 2013-04, University of Miami, Department of Economics.
  3. Hummel, Patrick, 2012. "Deliberative democracy and electoral competition," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 646-667.
  4. Dewatripont, Mathias & Seabright, Paul, 2010. "Rational Crowd-Pleasing and Democratic Accountability," CEPR Discussion Papers 7660, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Luigi Marengo & Corrado Pasquali, 2011. "The construction of choice: a computational voting model," Journal of Economic Interaction and Coordination, Springer, vol. 6(2), pages 139-156, November.
  6. repec:hal:journl:hal-00267218 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Guillaume Hollard & Stéphane Rossignol, 2008. "An Alternative Approach to Valence Advantage in Spatial Competition," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 10(3), pages 441-454, 06.
  8. repec:hal:cesptp:hal-00633567 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Micael Castanheira & Gaëtan J.A. Nicodème & Paola Profeta, 2011. "On the Political Economics of Tax Reforms," CESifo Working Paper Series 3538, CESifo Group Munich.
  10. Fabian Gouret & Guillaume Hollard & Stéphane Rossignol, 2011. "An empirical analysis of valence in electoral competition," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 309-340, July.
  11. Hummel, Patrick, 2010. "Flip-flopping from primaries to general elections," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(11-12), pages 1020-1027, December.
  12. Hummel, Patrick, 2010. "On the nature of equilibria in a Downsian model with candidate valence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 425-445, November.
  13. Luigi Maregno & Corrado Pasquali, 2008. "A computational voting model," LEM Papers Series 2008/24, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
  14. Matias Iaryczower & Andrea Mattozzi, 2012. "The pro-competitive effect of campaign limits in non-majoritarian elections," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 49(3), pages 591-619, April.
  15. Giorgio Fagiolo & Lucia Alessi & Matteo Barigozzi & Marco Capasso, 2010. "On the distributional properties of household consumption expenditures: the case of Italy," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 38(3), pages 717-741, June.
  16. Xefteris, Dimitrios, 2013. "Equilibrium in a discrete Downsian model given a non-minimal valence advantage and linear loss functions," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 150-153.
  17. Osterloh, Steffen & Debus, Marc, 2012. "Partisan politics in corporate taxation," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 192-207.
  18. Martin Gregor, 2013. "The Optimal Ballot Structure for Double-Member Districts," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp493, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economic Institute, Prague.

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